Brexit deal 'very difficult' - but door still open, European Union tells Britain

Andrew Cummings
October 10, 2019

This, he argues in his open letter to his former European Union colleagues, will make a no-deal Brexit more likely - an outcome they had always agreed it was "vital" to avoid.

There was also a "frank" exchange of views between Mr Johnson and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a telephone call on Tuesday.

The Taoiseach's spokesman tonight said the Prime Minister's office has asked that details of the meeting - 21 days out from the Brexit deadline - should be kept from the public.

On Wednesday, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said the PM was gearing up to bypass legal obstacles to a no-deal Brexit by sending one letter requesting an extension and, in the same instance, submitting a second memo telling European leaders he does not want one.

Mr Varadkar has expressed concern about Mr Johnson's proposal to give the Northern Ireland Assembly a vote over entering into a "regulatory zone" with the EU, which would involve it leaving the customs union.

Meanwhile, Government sources said that Mr Johnson was planning an emergency Saturday sitting of Parliament following the summit to be held on 19 October.

It is thought the British Prime Minister could use the occasion to force a showdown with MPs determined to block a no-deal Brexit.

But he added: "To put things very frankly and to try to be objective, we are not really in a position where we are able to find an agreement".

He emphasised that the UK's proposal represents a significant step and a reasonable compromise which respects the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, the single market and provides for democratic consent in Northern Ireland.

"As far as the Irish Government is concerned, we do want a deal, we're willing to work hard to get a deal, to work until the last moment to get a deal, but certainly not at any cost". "So Parliament won't wear it, so the Government, this Government, has made clear that we will not accept the backstop".

"I do hope a no-deal outcome can be avoided, but if not, the European Union has taken the necessary measures to prepare for this outcome".

"The Prime Minister set out how there is little time remaining to negotiate a new agreement, and so we need to move quickly and work together to agree a deal".

As we write, the United Kingdom government is said to be dismissive of the idea as it says that it will not accept any Irish backstop, even if it comes with a time limit attached.

Last night Downing Street would not rule out running a general election campaign on a no deal manifesto.

A statement issued by the Government Information Services said the two leaders at the centre of Brexit negotiations will meet tomorrow in the "North West of England".

The British parliament will hold a special Saturday sitting on October 19 to decide what to do. "Michel and myself are working on a deal", Juncker said.

The spokesman said it had been agreed with Downing Street that the media would not be told where the meeting will take place.

They met with Mr Johnson yesterday and he revealed the Prime Minister promised no-deal will never be his priority.

Speaking during a visit to a wind turbine facility in Southampton, Mr Corbyn said: "The idea that the Prime Minister will break the law yet again is something that needs to be borne in mind here".

Other reports by iNewsToday